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OSEPA Open Source Policy Statement


The three year OSEPA project (Open Source software usage by European Public Administrations) was funded through the INTERREG IVC programme and was a partnership of 12 organizations in eleven countries. The aim of the project was to conduct a systematic debate among European public administrations supported by analysis and exchange of experience on the issue of free and/or open source software (FOSS) with a view to:

  1. Analyze, promote knowledge and foster awareness on the main benefits and disadvantages, cost evidence and effectiveness resulting from FOSS adoption and use
  2. Explore, identify, build consensus on the framework conditions that would enable FOSS to become a technically, financially, legally viable alternative offering of IT solutions.
  3. Explore, identify, build consensus on and promote European, national and regional policies and policy approaches that may facilitate the emergence of FOSS as a mature and viable business model.
  4. Promote awareness, exchange and disseminate knowledge, good practice and case studies regarding the technical, financial and legal aspects of FOSS adoption by European public administrations in order to reduce uncertainty, inertia and resistance-to-change that limit experimentation and adoption of FOSS software.
  5. Discuss and promote the adoption of internal policies, mission statements, methodologies and action plans facilitating European public administrations to experiment, exploit and benefit from FOSS solutions.

The project challenge

Given that FOSS represents a potential of significant benefits enhancing the competitiveness of its adopters, both for public administrations as well as citizens and companies, it is of vital importance to examine how and whether a ppropriate public policies can alleviate barriers and inhibitors rendering the potential benefits of FOSS actual ones and enhancing thus the competitiveness of European economies.

OSEPA benefits

The OSEPA project started in March 2010 and finished in December 2012. The objective of the OSEPA project was to improve the knowledge and competencies of local and regional Public Administrations in FOSS solutions through the effective collection, analysis, exchange and transfer of good practices which was achieved through the conduction of studies and guidelines to support them in choosing the most effective FOSS migration strategy within their provinces. These studies and guidelines include:

  1. FOSS European and National Policies and practices: Analysis and Recommendations
  2. Technical efficiency guidelines for selecting between and among FOSS and proprietary SW solutions
  3. Report on the economic foundation of open source software
  4. Guide on free and open source software procurement for European Public Administrations
  5. Policy Recommendation Paper
  6. Quantitative Analysis of Survey Results on FOSS Usage
  7. Analysis of Survey Results on the Needs & Requirements of EPA’s
  8. Qualitative Analysis of Survey Results on FOSS Usage
  9. Synthesis Assessment Report of the Site Visits
  10. Synthesized Assessment Report of the OSEPA Study Visits
  11. Report on license issues, Liability and SW Procurement Policies in Relationship with FOSS
  12. OSEPA Open Source policy statement
  13. Good Practice Guide covering various aspects of FOSS usage by EPA’s (34 Good Practices identified)
  14. Policy Recommendation Paper on technical standards on FOSS usage
  15. Interim synthesis assessment report of the OSEPA Workshops
  16. FOSS Critical Success Factors
  17. Potential FOSS Benchmarks
  18. Survey on Open-source Cloud Computing Solutions

The exchange of knowledge and experience was also realized through the organization of numerous interregional events:

  1. 9 Workshops were organized to review FOSS good practices and strategic aspects for the successful implementation of FOSS.
  2. 6 Study Visits were organized to offer the OSEPA members the opportunity to access the know-how already adopted by FOSS more experienced partners.
  3. 5 Site Visits were organized to promote bilateral assessment of policies and to feed a comparative analysis of existing practice
  4. 7 Dissemination events were organized to explore the strategic impact of FOSS adoption and relate it to the existing EPAs' technology and service environments. Emphasis was placed on the current state of the art regarding FOSS adoption among EPAs and on the potential of FOSS uptake by EPAs (presenting results, guidelines, policy recommendations, etc.)

For project outputs see also www.osepa.eu/pdeliverables

The immediate project result was spread within the members of the consortium and their regional local authority network contacts. The OSEPA message rapidly reached a wider range of audience (EPA’s, FOSS developers, FOSS communities, FOSS-related projects, national and European associations of municipalities and regions, EU allies and policy makers) through the communication and dissemination efforts of partners. In particular through the:

  1. Project web portal
  2. e-newsletters
  3. Brochures
  4. Press Releases
  5. FOSS Articles
  6. Dissemination of studies and guidelines to numerous identified target groups